Torii @ Batai Village, Damansara Heights

January 7, 2015

Acclaimed yakitori-&-whisky specialist Torii spreads its wings from Taman Tun Dr Ismail to Damansara Heights this week, launching a second outpost to sizzle up the new Batai Village development.

 If you like Torii in TTDI, you'll probably love this new branch - the laid-back, welcoming vibe remains entirely intact, representative of a friendly neighbourhood hangout. The look here showcases an increasingly mature & confident restaurant, with Torii's unmistakable markers transposed into a warmer, more intimate setting with beautiful flourishes.

 This branch also features a calm & cosy bar upstairs, ideal for snacking & sipping. Spacious private rooms are available too.

The food is still distinctively Torii, with a lust-at-first-bite skewer selection that's enormously extensive, spanning sticks of crispy chicken thigh meat with sansho pepper, duck breast with sea salt, ox tripe with salsa, baby cuttlefish with BBQ sauce & more.

Torii's repertoire is constantly evolving, so there's always something new to sample. We're instant fans of the escargot, which offers a juicy chew, well-flavoured with garlic miso & scallions (RM10++). Rock lobster with garlic chilli sauce (RM10++) is a sterling bet with a fleshy heft, while the Wagyu Seven (RM20++), seasoned simply with sea salt & black pepper, showcases the kitchen's expertise with choice cuts of meat.

Torii fans know that some of the restaurant's tastiest temptations extend beyond skewers, across an inventive spectrum of starters & salads. Chef Nizam & his team do full justice to fish, with highlights like salmon crudo with scallions, garlic chips, pesto & ponzu (RM25) & tuna with mango, cilantro, saffron & balsamic dressing (RM22), shining with complex, lively flavours.

Gyoza is given a fresh twist, filled with beef & foie gras & pan-fried with ponzu & herbs (RM22) for a treat that remains respectful to Japanese flavours while infusing well-thought-out new nuances to surprise the taste buds.

It's also worth asking for Torii's off-menu specials: Steak devotees might worship the miso short rib & wagyu sirloin, partnered in a platter that's a show-stopping sacrament of succulence. RM120++.

Torii takes plenty of pride in its whisky, with a top-flight range that goes beyond the call of duty for both quantity & quality. Sullivan's Cove, named the world's best single-malt at the 2014 World Whiskies Award, makes for an enjoyable enticement with its smooth, simple elegance.

It's a testament to a triumphantly rounded restaurant that every section of its menu is well worth sampling. Cocktails are not to be skipped either, with unique specialities like the Lemongrass Potion (RM36++; a ravishingly balanced blend of whisky, soda, lemongrass & lemon zest) complementing the food. Many thanks to Torii's team for hosting this visit.

Torii @ Damansara Heights
Jalan Batai, Damansara Heights. Same row as Sitka. Open daily, 5pm through late. Tel: 03-2011-3798

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